It’s all about the show

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Any time you have a huge event, there’s usually a spectacular show involved.

Any time there’s some kind of championship, the promoters are going to try to put on the best show possible.

This year’s Olympics brought this subject to mind, but I’ll comment on that in a little while.

I got to thinking about some of the greatest shows ever to grace the world-wide stages.

Basketball and baseball aren’t usually that big on pageantry, but sometimes the simple things are fantastic.

No one can forget the performances of &uot;God Bless America&uot; by Ronan Tynan (remember the bald guy?) at the World Series following 9-11.

No big, flashy lights, no explosions, no head-banging music, but it was powerful.

When it comes to shows, it’s tough to top what the NFL does with the Super Bowl halftime show.

A few months after Tynan’s performances, you got one of the great halftime performances in Super Bowl history from U2.

(As a side note, I wonder what’s up with these Irish people putting on good shows?

Tynan is an Irish tenor and U2 is also from Dublin.)

U2’s big performance at the Super Bowl was capped by their singing &uot;Where the Streets Have No Name&uot; as the names of the victims of 9-11 scrolled on a huge screen behind them.

Then, a couple of years later, you got the whole Janet Jackson debacle.

The Super Bowl went ultra-conservative by wheeling out The Rolling Stones one year and Paul McCartney the next.

Then Prince came along.

I was sitting there going, &uot;Prince?


But I watched it, and it was one of the greatest halftime shows ever.

Singing &uot;Purple Rain&uot; in the rain was surreal, and the man knows how to play a guitar.

I never thought I’d say it, but they’re really going to have to work to top Prince.

This leads me to one of the greatest spectacles I’ve ever seen – this year’s opening ceremony in Beijing.

I’m sure by now you’ve all heard all the rave reviews about it, and I’m going to try not to rehash all that.

The coordination of everything was unreal.

Remember the part with the tai chi masters?

They were able to form all those concentric circles without any visible marks on the floor.

I’ve done marching band, so I was watching that part in amazement.

We never could get 20 people to make a good circle, much less 2008 of them.

But my absolute favorite part was the section where the Chinese printing press came out of the floor and the little boxes raised and lowered in sync with each other to give a visual of wind, water drops and the symbol for harmony.

What was absolutely mind-blowing about that was the fact that it wasn’t computer-controlled hydraulics like I thought – it was done by people who popped out and waved when it was all over.


I feel bad for London.

They’ve got the 2012 games, and China gave them an impossible act to follow.